Health Promotion through Hospitals: a Pilot Project in South Africa

By Peter Delobelle

In order to address the need for culturally grounded health education and promotion, a research based intervention project was piloted in a rural district hospital of the Limpopo Province, South Africa. The project aimed at transforming the hospital in a health promoting hospital (HPH) according to standards developed by WHO-Europe adapted to the local context, and was implemented through a North/South academic partnership project in collaboration with local and Provincial authorities. Specific objectives included assessing the impact of HPH on staff and patient well-being, satisfaction and turnover intent, occupational health and safety, and HIV/AIDS related knowledge, attitudes and practices.

The project was designed as intervention study guided by the principles of critical action research, and executed in nine stages according to the PRECEDE-PROCEED model developed by Green & Kreuter for systematic development and evaluation of health education and promotion programs. The project was based on initial needs assessment with regard to health education and promotion among hospital staff, patients and their relatives, followed by intervention mapping and program design, and included a pre- & post-intervention survey of hospital staff. The process consisted of promoting a shared vision, providing leadership and organizing empowerment workshops, complemented by institutionalization of the concept through introduction of formal policies, systems and structures. Activities were planned through regular committee meetings with hospital management supervised by a project leader and are associated with the quality assurance program in order to ensure sustainability.

The project was implemented in partnership with local stakeholders, including representatives from government, traditional healers, media and the community, and builds on a recently finished hospital revitalization project. The initiative is considered a pilot project by Provincial health authorities for improving quality standards in public hospitals throughout the Province.


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